Category Archives: Printing Tech

ADOBE ILLUSTRATOR – Using Type as a Mask

Adobe Illustrator has a wonderful assortment of tools for adding fill colors and patterns to paths and objects. However, those fill options aren’t as plentiful when it comes to adding fills to type. Workarounds for these limitations are available. One method allows you to use type as a mask to apply a gradient to your text.
Here’s how to do it:
  • Create a word or phrase of text.

  • Use the rectangle tool to create a rectangle about the size of your text. Apply a gradient fill to this rectangle.

  • Drag your type on top of the filled rectangle, making sure that the text is on top. (Object > Arrange > Bring to Front)

  • Select both pieces, the type and the rectangle.
  • Choose Object > Clipping Mask > Make.
  • Click anywhere outside your type to see the effect.

You could use this technique to create unique headlines for a newsletter, or in your company’s logo.
RECOMMENDED READING FROM AMAZON.COM
How to Do Everything with Adobe Illustrator CS
by David Karlins
REVIEW
This handy resource teaches you how to generate professional graphics for multiple media, including print and Web. Master Illustrator’s defining feature: creating and editing drawings by defining anchor points and the paths between them. Plus, the book features an art gallery displaying professional work to help illustrate the lessons and inspire you.
http://www.ParagonPress.net – #1 in Shreveport, LA for printing, direct mail, graphic design, social media, marketing services – 318.868.3351.

ADOBE PHOTOSHOP – Work in RGB, Preview in CMYK

While Photoshop files intended for use in full-color print jobs will ultimately need to be converted to CMYK color mode, working in RGB color mode means more filters for you to use, and a smaller file size, which allows Photoshop to operate more efficiently.
Knowing these benefits, wouldn’t it be nice to work in RGB mode, but see the effects of your work in CMYK mode?
Here’s how you can do just that in real-time.
  • While your image is open onscreen, go under the Window menu to Arrange, and choose New Window.
  • This will open another view of your existing document.
  • Press Command-Y (for a PC: Control-Y) to show a CMYK preview of your image, then return to your original document and edit as normal.
  • The changes you make in the RGB window will be updated in the CMYK window.
Your finished file will still need to be converted to CMYK mode for use in full-color print production. If you need assistance with this final step, please contact us at Paragon Press – we’ll be happy to help.
RECOMMENDED READING FROM AMAZON.COM
Adobe Photoshop CS Down & Dirty Tricks
by Scott Kelby
REVIEW
Bestselling author Scott Kelby is back with an amazing new collection of Photoshop Down and Dirty Tricks. It’s more of those eye-popping, jaw-dropping special effects that made Scott’s previous version an award-winning worldwide smash hit!
You’ll learn the most closely guarded inside secrets for creating the latest cutting-edge effects, including techniques that have never been revealed before anywhere! And the book is written so clearly, and is so easy to follow, that you’ll be able to create every one of these amazing effects yourself.
But Down and Dirty tricks is more than just a just an effects book–it’s a tips book too, because on every page Scott includes a cool tip, a quick trick, or a timesaving shortcut, making this an invaluable productivity tool too! Plus the whole book is packed with design techniques, creative ideas and stunning layouts that will help you unleash your own creativity.

http://www.ParagonPress.net – #1 in Shreveport, LA for printing, direct mail, graphic design, social media, marketing services. 318-868-3351

ADOBE InDesign’s Paragraph Composer

First, a little history…
Back before computers, when type was set by hand, great care was taken to make a page of type appear “beautiful.” The typesetter would have the luxury of analyzing each line of type to make sure it didn’t create unwanted text disturbances like rivers, widows, orphans, or hyphenation problems. If an aesthetic problem was identified, it, along with any other lines of type affected by the change, could be quickly remedied.
Now, fast-forward to the computer age. Even though computers have made the job of setting type much more efficient, the software has always lacked the ability to analyze multiple lines of text in order to achieve the best aesthetic typographic result.
Enter Adobe’s InDesign, and the introduction of the Adobe’s Paragraph Composer, which has the capacity to reduce the amount of time spent on composition, and increase the consistency of hyphenation and overall letter and word spacing.
Adobe’s Paragraph Composer can consider multiple lines of text, eliminating widows, orphans and text rivers, and improving the overall quality of the body of text as you type, allowing you to approach page layout from an artistic point of view.
Preferences for Adobe InDesign’s composition engine are defined by selecting the Adobe Paragraph Composer or Adobe Single-line Composer from the InDesign Paragraph palette menu.
Choosing whether to use the Paragraph or Single-line Composer depends on what type of work you are doing. If you are working with a small amount of text, such as a headline or caption, the Single-line Composer will allow more user control. The Paragraph Composer is best suited for larger bodies of text because it was designed to consider multiple lines of text at one time, and will provide the highest-quality aesthetic results with very little hassle.
Suggested Reading from Amazon.com

InDesign In Detail
by Frank Romano and David Broudy
REVIEW
InDesign In Detail provides the most authoritative, thorough guide to InDesign for serious graphic arts professionals, including step-by-step explanations and insider’s tips for every InDesign technique needed to build sophisticated page layouts: frames, objects, graphics, type, and text.

http://www.ParagonPress.net – #1 in Shreveport, LA for printing, direct mail, graphic design, social media, marketing services. 318-868-3351

ADOBE ACROBAT – Dictionary on Demand

Did you know that Adobe Acrobat (since version 6.0) provides a convenient dictionary at your disposal?
If you are connected to the Internet while working in Acrobat, you can easily look up the meaning of any word in a text object.
Here’s how:
Simply select the word you want to look up with the text tool and right-click (Windows) or control-click (Mac), then choose Look Up “selected word.” Acrobat will then launch your web browser and the meaning of the word you selected will be displayed.

http://www.ParagonPress.net – #1 in Shreveport, LA for printing, direct mail, graphic design, social media, marketing services. 318.868.3351

PHOTOSHOP 7.0 – Naming Layers

Why You Should Name Your Layers
If you’ve ever created a multi-layered document in PhotoShop, you know it can become very difficult, time consuming, and frustrating to keep track of what is on which layer. That is a great reason to name your layers as you go. The following techniques will help you become a more efficient PhotoShop pro:
Naming Layers As You Go
To name a new layer as you go, hold the Option key (Mac) or Alt key (PC) before you click on the New Layer icon at the bottom of the Layers palette.
Why You Should Name Your Layers
If you’ve ever created a multi-layered document in PhotoShop, you know it can become very difficult, time consuming, and frustrating to keep track of what is on which layer. That is a great reason to name your layers as you go. The following techniques will help you become a more efficient PhotoShop pro:
Renaming Layers
If you want to rename your layers after you create them, double-click directly on the layer’s name in the Layers palette and it will highlight the text so you can type a new name. (If you double-click anywhere else besides the name, it will bring up the Blending Options in the Layer Style dialog.)
Save Time in 7.0
This way of naming layers directly in the palette is new in PhotoShop 7.0. In version 6, you had to hold the Option key (Mac) or Alt key (PC) when you double-clicked and it would bring up the Layer Properties dialog where you could rename the layer. This minor change is a big timesaver.

http://www.ParagonPress.net – #1 in Shreveport, LA for printing, direct mail, graphic design, social media, marketing services. 318-868-3351.

Fixing a Problem Photo

…by blurring the background, yet keeping the grain.
You can remove distracting detail from an image or focus attention on the subject by isolating the subject and keeping it in focus as you blur other parts of the picture. The Photoshop technique presented in this tip imitates the effect you get with a shortened depth of field, traditionally achieved by opening up the camera’s iris (setting the f-stop low). The blurring can be limited to the background, or, as shown here, the sharp subject can be sandwiched between blurred background and blurred foreground. In either case, you’ll need to make the blurred areas match the sharp ones by restoring the film grain or digital noise (the equivalent of film grain in an image captured with a digital camera) that was lost in the process of blurring.
Defining the Foreground
If you want to keep a foreground subject in focus while blurring only the background, it’s a good idea to make sure the foreground subject bleeds off the bottom of the picture, even if it means cropping the image. Otherwise, if the subject is standing on the ground, it can be very tricky to make the transition from the in-focus ground at the feet of the subject to the out-of-focus background.

http://www.ParagonPress.net – #1 in Shreveport, LA for printing, direct mail, design, social media, marketing services. 318-868-3351

PHOTOSHOP – Resizing Multiple Layers

Here’s a real timesaving tip for Photoshop that enables you to resize objects or text on multiple layers all at the same time. Just link together the layers you want to resize, then press Command-T (Macintosh) or Control-T (Windows) to bring up the Free Transform bounding box. Hold the Shift key (to constrain proportions), then grab any of the bounding box handles and drag. As you drag, all of the linked layers will resize at the same time.
http://www.ParagonPress.net – #1 in Shreveport, LA for printing, direct mail, design, social media, marketing services. 318-868-3351

Understanding Compound Paths

Illustrator lets you carve holes inside a path. You can then see through these holes to objects and colors that lie behind the path. A path with holes in it is called a compound path.
If you convert a letter such as B or O into outlines, the letter is automatically converted into a compound path.
To make a compound path, do the following:
  1. Draw two shapes. Make one smaller than the other. You can use any tool to draw either shape, and the paths can be open or closed.
  2. Select both shapes and choose Object>Compound Paths>Make. Where the two shapes overlap, the compound path is transparent. Where the shapes don’t overlap, the path is filled.
  3. Edit the individual shapes in the compound path with the direct selection tool.
After you combine two or more shapes into a compound path, select the entire path by clicking on it with the arrow tool. If you want to select a point or segment belonging to one of the subpaths — that’s the official name for the shapes inside a compound path — press Command-Shift-A (Mac) or Control-Shift-A (Windows) to deselect the path, and click an element with the direct selection tool. You can then manipulate points, segments, and control handles as usual.
At this point you might ask, “Why do you need a path with a hole in it? Why not just stick the smaller path in front of the bigger path and fill in the smaller path with the background color?”
Two reasons:
  • First, the background may contain lots of different colors. The “B” on the left is a proper compound path, allowing us to see through the holes to anything behind it.
  • Second, working with opaque paths limits your flexibility. Even if you can get away with filling an interior path with a flat color, you’ll have to change that color any time you change the background or move the objects against a new background. But with a compound path, you can move the object against any background without changing a thing. You can even add effects like drop shadows without modifying the compound path one iota. It’s flexibility at its finest.
Now, as we said, Illustrator automatically turns letters into compound paths. But you may want to create additional compound paths of your own. Doughnuts, ladders, eyeglasses, windows, and ski masks are just a few of the many items that lend themselves to compound paths.

http://www.ParagonPress.net  – #1 in Shreveport, LA for printing, direct mail, design, social media, marketing services – 318.868.3351

Graphics File Naming System

One of the least glamorous but potentially most time and frustration saving habits you can acquire is to adopt a good file naming system and then use it consistently. A good file naming system can save you hours of time when you are trying to find an image. This is particularly true if you tend to save several versions of a file.
A complete graphic file name should include: item name, color mode, resolution, and file format. An example would be Trees_CMYK_200.psd. This type of attention to detail in file naming, while perhaps a bit cumbersome, will make your file management and location chores much easier. In addition, it will make it easier to identify your graphic images.

http://www.ParagonPress.net – #1 in Shreveport, LA for printing, direct mail, graphic design, social media, marketing services – 318.868.3351

Photoshop – Straightening a Crooked Photo

Let’s face it. We’re not all expert photographers. Occasionally, a photo comes out a little more crooked than we’d like. You probably already know how useful Photoshop’s crop tool can be for trimming undesired elements from your photos, but did you know you can use it to straighten a crooked image, as well? Here’s how:
1.Select the Crop tool from the tools palette.
2.Click and drag the cursor across the portion of the image you wish to use.
3.Move your mouse outside the selected area. The cursor will turn into a double-sided arrow, connected by a curved line.
4.Press and hold down the mouse button (left mouse button on the PC) and move your mouse. The selected area of the photo will rotate in whatever direction you move.
5.Once you’ve rotated the selection enough to make up for the photo’s crookedness, release the mouse.
6.Press Enter, or double-click inside the selected area. The image will be cropped accordingly and rotated to bring it straight.

http://www.ParagonPress.net – #1 in Shreveport, LA for printing, design, direct mail, social media, marketing services – 318.868.3351